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Iaron Lightbourne Leads the Fight for $500K Title in $3.5 Million GTD MSPT Venetian

Englishman Iaron Lightbourne led the surviving 39 runners into the final day of the $3.5 Million GTD MSPT event which is currently running at the Venetian Las Vegas. The $1,100 buy-in tournament has the largest prize pools of all 150 events in the 2018 DeepStack Championship Poker Series and during its starting flights, it attracted a massive entry field of 4,411 players.

The tournament, which full name is Mid-States Poker Tour Venetian, kicked off Sunday, drawing a record attendance and offering a cash prize of $548,341 to whoever claims the trophy. The Final Day starts Friday with only 39 players who remained in the contest and Iaron Lightbourne, originally from London, will return to the tables as the largest stack. He managed to emerge as chip leader in the last minutes of play on Thursday night when he won a huge pot and collected a total of 7,330,000 in chips. All other players fall behind in the ranking, with the second and third biggest stacks are less than 5 million. Young Eum from Los Angeles, California, comes with 4,770,000, followed by Las Vegas-based Dustin Goff and his 4,750,000.

This is hardly the first rodeo for Lightbourne, as he has participated in various live tournaments across Europe and the United States since 2011. With nearly $1.4 million in live career earnings, he has claimed the championship title of three events, the first of which was the £1,100 NLH Main Event at Unibet Open London 2014 when he won a little over $110,000. In November 2015, he took down partypoker WPT Nottingham Main Event for $308,766 and just a few months later, in January 2016, he won one of the events during PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, banking $78,240. This is also not the first time Lightbourne plays in an MSPT event – in June 2014, he finished 17th in the $1,100 NLH MSPT event at the Venetian.

Only 39 Players Return to the Felt on Friday

Day 2 of the $3.5 Million GTD MSPT tournament started with 647 runners who tried to qualify for the finale on Friday. After 14 levels with 40,000/80,000 blinds, only 39 players survived and will return to the felt for Day 3. Not everyone will make it to the feature table, but even early eliminations are guaranteed a minimum cash prize of $12,042. Considering they have paid an entry fee of only $1,100, they will bank quite attractive consolation prizes. The winner of the tournament, however, will take home the lion’s share of the prize pool, with $548,341 awaiting them.

The player with the biggest chances for winning, so far, is Day 3 chip leader Iaron Lightbourne. As mentioned before, he comes with the largest stack (7,330,000), followed by Young Eum (4,770,000), and Dustin Goff and (4,750,000). Holding 4,430,000 in chips, Jonatan Simchon also has more the 4 million, while the rest in the top 10 chip count are Michael Del Vecchio (3,230,000), Tyreem Williams (3,120,000), James Rodriguez (2,975,000), Scott Massimiano (2,950,000), Matthew Hunt (2,765,000), and Lou Garza (2,750,000).

Most of the players in the tournament are U.S. citizens but due to the huge prize pool, tens of poker pros from all over the world have come to Las Vegas and the $3.5 Million GTD MSPT Venetian event. Some of them qualified for the final day, including Israeli player Simchon, Sonny Franco from Morroco who has 2,505,000 in chips, Bulgaria’s Emil Gramatikov (1,816,000) and Ivan Uzunov (1,675,000), and Eiji Matsumura from Tokyo, Japan (1,505,000).